On the road again…
No sooner had I returned from Uganda than we began planning our next trip to work with and support our partners in Uganda. No dates have been set, but we are thinking sometime next summer. If you have an interest in joining us, please read on.
Why go to uganda?
There are a few reasons
Connection & Encouragement
A trip to Uganda affords the opportunity to connect with and encourage many of the people who are supported by and interact with WE International. This includes the women and staff at the WE Restore home, WE Empower microloan recipients, children supported by the WE Educate program, villagers on Lingura Island and even those who work with NGOs in Uganda.
Every trip I have taken to Uganda has offered memorable opportunities to connect with people who are working diligently to make a better life for themselves and their families, as well as the selfless staffers and volunteers who work with them.
These are friendships that may last a lifetime. Many who have gone on prior trips continue to maintain these friendships today.
It may seem obvious, but I cannot emphasize enough that is impossible to understand both the obstacles facing those who live in Africa as well as the strength of those who confront and overcome those obstacles, unless you see them firsthand.
Spending quality time with those on the ground who are working to improve the lives of Ugandans will give you much better awareness of the struggle than will any safari or similar tourist activity.
Training and Education
The staff at the WE Restore home are always on the lookout for resources to teach marketable skills to the women and girls enrolled in the home. Early this year, Emily Schwery spent a week teaching the women baking skills.
We are now in the process of following up with Zoom sessions with Emily and her students. The staff are specifically looking for assistance in teaching skills such as jewelry making, knitting and possibly macrame. While we take our lead from the WE Restore staff, if you have a skill or passion that you think would be useful to the women at the WE Restore home, let me know.
According to the Ugandan staff, many of the villagers supported by the WE Empower microloan program are much more likely to participate in a medical screening for themselves and their children if a western health professional is doing the screening. So, we would love to bring along a doctor or nurse with us.
Some more information
How long will we be gone?
While we have not determined the precise dates of travel, the length of the trip–including travel days–will likely be between 9 and 14 days.
What locations will we be visiting?
We will fly into Entebbe Airport, which is located south of the capital city of Kampala. We will drive to Jinja, which will be our base of operations and is home to the WE Restore home.
Those on the trip will have the opportunity to take a boat to Lingura Island in Lake Victoria to visit our friends on the island and perhaps attend church services. Many or all of us may travel to Lunyo, a village where many of the WE Empower microloan recipients live. We will also try to build in other day trips.
Every attempt will be made to accommodate the desires of those on the trip in terms of places to see and things to do.
Can you describe the accommodations?
We will be staying in a hotel that would be comparable to western hotels in terms of rooms and amenities. There will likely be options for both single and double occupancy.
There will be a mix of African and western cuisine. There will be many opportunities to partake in local cuisine at the WE Restore home, on Lingura Island and during other visits. However, modern American cuisine (e.g., pizza, hamburgers, wraps, milkshakes) is abundant in Jinja.
How about our safety?
Uganda has a stable government and there is an omnipresent security presence. While I have at times walked the streets unaccompanied by any local, the plan is to make sure that when we leave our hotel or the WE Restore home, we are accompanied by one of our local hosts. I have never personally feared for my safety in Uganda.
What will be the arrangements for ground transport once we are in uganda?
The WE Restore home has a van that can be used to transport the team once we land in Uganda.
We also may use the services of private drivers who run their own car service. We will only use drivers who are well known to our Ugandan hosts.
What documentation and inoculations do we need?
While circumstances may change, the documents you will need include a passport (with an expiration date more than 6 months after the date of travel), proof of COVID immunization, and proof of yellow fever inoculation, i.e., a yellow fever card.
You will also need to apply for a visa, but we can assist there.
You will want to check with a travel nurse or similar medical specialist to get your yellow fever inoculations and arrange for other medications that may be advisable. During my recent trip I was not required to take a COVID test either before I left or during my trip.
What about Ebola?
If you have followed the news, you may have read that Uganda has experienced an outbreak of Ebola since late September.
During my recent trip I did not mix with any Ugandans in the areas where there had been reports of infection. Upon my return I have been in contact with public health officials and monitoring my temperature; there have been no signs of infection. Subsequent to my return, there have been 4 reported cases of Ebola near Jinja. The government is taking aggressive action to confront these outbreaks.
That being said, the safety of our team is of paramount importance. We will not put any team member in danger. We will adhere to the advise of the US State Department and public health professionals. Our hope is that the danger will be eradicated before our trip. However, we will cancel if need be.
We always purchase travel insurance to protect against the cost of cancelling a trip.
What is the cost?
Many factors will influence the per-person cost. It is most likely that the cost will fall between $3,000 and $4,000 per person. As planning progresses, we will have a much better idea of the cost.
While it is doubtful that WE will be in a position to subsidize the cost of the trip for you, we can assist you in fundraising.
Will there be other trips?
Almost certainly. We hope to make trips to Uganda semi annually. While our current focus is on Uganda, we have plans to connect with other organizations in Tanzania, Kenya and the Congo (DRC). If next summer’s trip does not work out, there will be other opportunities.
Feel free to email me (firstname.lastname@example.org) if you would like to discuss this or any other trip. Also, even if you are not interested in traveling to Uganda but know of someone else who has an interest, please pass this information on to them.